The Basics of Flight

– Introduction – The twentieth century began with mankind taking small steps to conquer the skies through heavier-than-air flight. By the middle of the century planes were breaking the sound barrier and space travel was fast becoming a reality. The airplane brought changes to society like no other technology before it, allowing people to travel… Read more »

An Introduction to Rocket Flight

– Introduction – Modern rocket flight is the culmination of centuries of discoveries and experiments. From early discoveries in Alexandria to the work of Sir Isaac Newton and up to Wernher Von Braun, rocket flight has changed our world significantly. Through the use of rocket flight we have been able to put satellites in orbit. This… Read more »

Understanding Rocket Aerodynamics

– Introduction – The advantages of studying aerodynamics are numerous.  From the design of new vehicles to the understanding of how a ball, puck or shuttlecock moves in sports. Aerodynamics and The Basics of Drag We will start the discussion on drag and how it can be calculated. Drag is the resistance that is caused… Read more »

Understanding Rocket Stability Part 1 – Centre of Gravity

– Introduction – To understand the stability of a model rocket flight it is important to visualize the rocket moving through the air during its upward trajectory. After leaving the launch rod the rocket is essentially a free moving body in the air. The forces of wind, gravity and drag act upon the rocket affecting… Read more »

Understanding Rocket Stability Part 2 – Centre of Pressure

– Introduction – Imagine if you will a long tube balanced in the centre or CG on a pivot. If we were to apply a steady air stream directly to the pivot point the tube would not rotate as there would be equal force applied to both sides of the tube. If we were then… Read more »

Einstein and GPS

– Introduction – Whenever we get the chance to teach young students about flight we find that what really excites them are the real-world applications of theories and mathematics. The amazing thing about aerospace education is that there is an opportunity for students to work with their own hands to build vehicles that demonstrate the… Read more »

The numbers and letters of Model Rocket Motors

– Introduction – The image below is a cut out of a typical model rocket engine. The nozzle (1) is the end where the hot gases from the engine eject giving the rocket its thrust. The casing (2) which holds the engine together is made usually from layers of paper or may be plastic. The… Read more »

Rocket Gliders part 2 – How do they work?

– Introduction – Recall, if you can, the first time you successfully flew a kite. The day was windy or, more probably, there was a steady breeze; your friend helped launch the kite whilst you ran a bit to get it up in the air. Suddenly it felt different, there was a steady pull on… Read more »

Rocket Gliders part 1

– Introduction – A rocket glider (Figure 1) consists of a rocket motor attached to a glider such that the model climbs in a true rocket (ballistic) flight but converts after burn out to a glider. The burnt out motor stays with the glider. A rocket boost glider or boost glider (Figure 2) behaves in… Read more »

Flight Pattern of a Model Rocket Launch

– Introduction – In the diagram on the right we can see a graphic of a typical model rocket flight. As you may see in the diagram the four main stages of a model rocket flight are thrust, coast, apogee and recovery. We used our electronic altimeter to record data for each of these stages…. Read more »

Lessons
• Mathematics in Motion – Model Rocket Velocity

How fast does a model rocket go? This may be the second most asked question after witnessing a model rocket launch. Unlike a cannon ball shot from a cannon the velocity of the model rocket actually increases after it leaves the launch pad. In this lesson we will determine the maximum velocity of a model… Read more »

• Mathematics in Motion – How high did my rocket go?

How high did my rocket go? This is probably one of the most asked questions in rocketry. There are a few ways in which to determine a rocket’s apogee (maximum height). One is through the use of electronic altimeters. Altimeters are made by a few manufacturers with varying price points and complexities and can accurately… Read more »

• Recovery Wadding for Rockets – Protecting the Parachute

For those new to model rocketry you may not be aware of the need for recovery wadding in your flight. Recovery wadding is used to protect the streamer or parachute from the hot ejection gases from the motor. In this lesson we will discuss the importance of recovery wadding for rockets and describe two different… Read more »